Thursday, September 02, 2004

Back off, I’m trying to unwind - The Rough draft

Have you ever had a rough day at work? Come back home and think “At least I’ll relax at today evening’s party” and just as you begin to forget the day’s frustrations, nurse a drink, tap your feet with the music, someone comes up and says “Doctor my son has been coughing for a while, what’s the problem?” Or to a techie, “Warcraft isn’t loading on my computer, what should I do?”

How does it feel to be questioned regarding work in a social setting? When do we draw the line between being interested in another person’s line of work and trying to get free advice? Are we justified in asking a friend’s professional opinion, especially at social gatherings? Aren’t they entitled to have conversations at dinner parties regarding something other than their work?

We spoke to professionals in the city to find if they get frustrated at facing such questions and how they deal with it.

School teachers narrated incidents where pushy parents cornered them and gave them a hard time at social occasions. Telecom professionals said they found it irritating when people got into intense debates regarding TRAI policies. Techies complained that friends tried to get them to solve their computer problems without realizing the difference between software and hardware experts. Journalists said they were fed up of being asked for inside gossip from politics to Tollywood.

Dr V.Koteswara Rao, Pediatrician, Apollo Hospitals says “People do ask for advice on & off. When we are trying to relax in a social gathering, we don’t like to be asked for advice, but I try to be courteous and give an answer if their problem is genuine”

Mrs. Tina Fernandes, Acting HOD Psychology & Counselor, St. Francis College says: “Friends and students do confide problems in me and seek solutions. With them, I do my best to help. But it feels strange with new acquaintances. On the other hand, it’s difficult for some students to talk to me outside class hours, because then it’s assumed by others that she has a problem.”

Dr Kalpana Aleaxander, Gynecologist, Matrika Hospital told us “Women only approach me if they are really worried about something, so I don’t mind. I do my best to reassure them and schedule an appointment if necessary.”

Mr Hirendermath, a lawyer said “I try to avoid talking about my job in social settings, there’s more to me than my profession. But my friends only ask for advice, when they really need help. Then I do my best, because relationships are important. It’s an American Concept which discourages this. I sincerely believe we should not take umbrage if friends ask for advice.”

Another doctor joked that people would stop asking for free advice at parties if they were asked to undress for a full physical check-up.

Everyone attends social occasions to relax and take their mind off work. We need to respect that, professionals too need time off. Let’s be a little less selfish and allow them to enjoy the party.

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